What Jesus Did! 'Do What They Say!' — Matthew 23:1-3

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Then Jesus spoke to the people and to his followers. Jesus said, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the authority (power) to tell you what the law of Moses says. So you should obey the things they say. You should do all the things they tell you to do. But their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they don't do those things themselves."
— Matthew 23:1-3 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 23:1-3 NLT —  So you should obey the things they say.

Key Thought

When leaders do what God has gifted them to do and when they teach the truth, we should obey it. Jesus demanded that we respect those in places of authority. Jesus also demanded that his disciples (that is, us!) obey God's truth. The truth is not dependent upon a worthy life-style in the person proclaiming it. So if a person of authority teaches the truth, we are to do it. Just because that person is a hypocrite does not give us the option of ignoring God's truth!
These two principles are key to putting Jesus' scathing words that follow in their proper place. After his opening words here, Jesus is not talking to us about our responsibility to our leaders in Matthew 23. Instead, Jesus is addressing the leaders and telling them what their responsibility is and pronouncing judgment on them for being hypocrites. We are not to follow their example, but we are to practice the truth they speak.

Today's Prayer

Holy God, please remove from my heart any duplicity and self-deception that may exist. I know of those who teach powerful and truthful messages whose lives are not in harmony with your will. Please give me discernment to know your truth when I hear it, even when it comes from those I don't respect. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 12:48-59
  • Romans 13:1-7
  • Hebrews 13:7


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.